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Yes: The Rumor Is Vokoun

February 20, 2010, 10:09 AM ET [ Comments]
John Jaeckel
Chicago Blackhawks Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
I had sworn myself to secrecy, so as not jinks the deal for Hawks fans.

But after reading Pierre LeBrun's piece on espn.com posted yesterday, regarding a rumored deal of Florida goalie Tomas Vokoun to Chicago, I figured it's OK if I spill now:

The deal I heard about, which is supposedly the same that Harry Teinowitz referred to on ESPN Radio on Monday is as follows:

Cristobal Huet
Corey Crawford
Kris Versteeg

to the Panthers, for:

Tomas Vokoun
An unnamed defenseman (most likely one of two impending UFAs: Dennis Seidenberg or Jordan Leopold).

LeBrun reports Vokoun denies being asked to waive his NTC. I suspect that's likely true. But that doesn't mean this deal is dead or untrue.

It could just as easily mean that since the paperwork is not due at the league until early March, there is no point in Randy Sexton approaching Vokoun about it now. In fact, there are a lot of reasons he wouldn't.

Let's face it, a good goalie who's spent most of his career on average teams and would have a shot at a Cup in one of the top 5 media markets in North America— he'd likely waive his NTC.

LeBrun also reports one source saying there's nothing to this rumor, and another saying not to discount it.

The validity of those opinions all depends who they're coming from and/or if they have any vested interests.

While I, myself, blogged not long ago that no deals for goalies were forthcoming, the Hawks have tried to deal Huet before. And, as the Johnsson/Leddy deal proves, the Hawks' young players (like Cam Barker or Kris Versteeg) are attractive enough to some teams to get fairly substantial return.

Further, as always, where there's smoke, there's fire. I don't know who LeBrun's sources are. But there is some "smoke" around this rumor based on what I've seen and heard from people in Chicago that makes me believe the Hawks are up to something.

A few weeks back, I blogged here the Hawks were kicking the tires on Niclas Wallin, not long after, Spector blogged that the Hawks were talking to L.A. about Sean O'Donnell. Darren Dreger had them after Andrzej Meszaros. All defensemen.

What happened? Wallin did get dealt— to San Jose, and the Hawks ended up getting Kim Johnsson.

The point? Patterns emerge in these rumors that end up supporting the final outcome, if not the exact details. In this case, I do believe the Hawks are talking to teams about a package that would move Huet for a veteran goalie. A package, including more than just goalies. And, for what it's worth, I still suspect they might actually have a deal "done" (or close to it) with someone.

And even if a deal with Florida doesn't pan out, it all comes down to: how badly do the Hawks want to move Huet?

How many teams have the cap room to take on his deal and a goalie situation where it makes sense in some fashion? How many of those teams have a goalie to send back who at least equals Huet for the remainder ofthe season and the playoffs?

How many assets like Versteeg, Corey Crawford, Kyle Beach or draft picks are the Hawks willing to sweeten the deal with?

Because there comes a point in almost every scenario where the cost of taking on Huet is outweighed by the benefit of what the team gets from the Hawks. And the Hawks almost can't overpay, because they must move players and salary anyway.

Remember, at every deadline, there are buyers and sellers. I know of at least 5 teams who could be looking to deal decent to very good goalies.

That said, a lot of factors would need to align. And I still believe they could in the rumored Florida deal. We'll see.

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